Nationals News: A.J. Cole learning from watching talented rotation

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Good morning DoD readers, and welcome to today’s District Daily! The Nationals lost a crazy game to the Mets last night, dropping their Grapefruit League record to 4-4. With the Spring Training schedule already eight games in, the Nationals are quickly approaching the start of the 2015 season and the first major round of cuts isn’t too far off in the future. But who will be leaving the Nationals’ camp first?

Odds are, it won’t be A.J. Cole, the team’s No. 3 prospect. While Cole probably won’t make the Opening Day roster, his presence in big league camp has already helped him become a better pitcher and will undoubtedly continue to do so.

In today’s Daily, MLB.com’s Jamal Collier discusses Cole, who, according to Collier, has already learned a lot just from watching the team’s otherworldly rotation perform in the spring.

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Of course, Cole still has a long way to go before he can contribute to the ball club at the big league level. But being invited to big league camp and learning from a rotation consisting of Stephen Strasburg, Max Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez? That’s a pretty great place to start.

Also in today’s Daily, Collier discusses Denard Span, who made his return to camp and has begun to rehab from the core muscle surgery he had earlier this week. While a lot still has to happen for Span to be able to rejoin the Nationals, it’s encouraging that he was able to return to camp and get his rehab routine up and running.

We’ll continue to monitor Span’s situation in the coming days and weeks, so be sure to stay tuned to DoD for all your Nationals Spring Training needs. For now, start off your day with these great Washington Nationals articles from around the web:

Prospect Cole learning from watching talented rotation

(Jamal Collier, MLB.com)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A.J. Cole is coming off arguably the best season of his young career. In 2014, he went a combined 13-3 with a 3.16 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A and struck out 111 in 134 innings.

The 22-year-old right-hander would likely be pushing for a spot in the Major League rotation with most teams, however, the Nationals are not most teams. Washington has a plethora of starting pitching with six proven Major League starters, leaving Cole likely destined to begin the season in Triple-A. Read full article here.

Span returns to camp, begins rehab on core muscle

(Jamal Collier, MLB.com)

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Nationals center fielder Denard Span arrived at Space Coast Stadium on Thursday morning, a day earlier than expected, to begin the rehab process on his right core muscle.

Nationals manager Matt Williams said Span felt better this time compared to how he felt after he returned from hernia surgery in December. Williams sensed Span came to camp with a clear mind.

“He knows it’s going to be awhile,” Williams said. “‘I’ve got to get through this, but once I’m good, I’m good. I don’t have to worry about this all season trying to play through something and not be as full strength as I want to be.'” Read full article here.

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